PT GMF AeroAsia, a subsidiary of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, will become the first maintenance and repair center in Asia-Pacific for the Canadian-based aircraft manufacturer Bombardier after both parties signed a letter of intent on Friday.

President director Richard Budihadianto said the repair center would be an important facility to expand its business by maintaining and repairing aircraft from the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in supporting Garuda Indonesia’s operations.

“We are going to expand this business gradually. Based on our plan, we are going to be able to conduct heavy maintenance on the Bombardier in 2014,” Richard told the press on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan, Industry Minister MS Hidayat and Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono, who is also the Garuda Indonesia president commissioner, also witnessed the signing.

Richard said the company had started to train its engineers to repair the Bombardier aircraft CRJ 700, 900 and 1000 series a couple of months ago.

“Our target for this year is to be able to conduct light maintenance in our first maintenance and repair organization (MRO) in Makassar,” he said.

According to the company’s plan, Bombardier MROs will be built in Garuda’s regional hubs: Medan, North Sumatra; Balikpapan, East Kalimantan; Denpasar, Bali; Makassar, South Sulawesi; and Biak, West Papua.

He refused to comment on the capital spent to build the MROs, but he said that they could get US$200 million in revenue from these facilities within the next few years.

“The market for this aircraft maintenance business is $2 billion [a year] and we plan to take 10 percent of the market share,” he said.

Companies that use the Canadian aircraft include Delta Air, BritAir, Lufthansa CityLine, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, American Eagle Airlines, Air Canada Jazz, Scandinavia Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and China Express.

Meanwhile, the Bombardier has MRO facilities in five countries in Europe and the United States.

In addition, Garuda Indonesia’s president director, Emirsyah Satar, said the firm would take delivery of five Bombardier CRJ 1000 NextGen aircraft this year and they will start operations to serve regional routes in October from Makassar.

“The idea behind ordering the Bombardier is to support the government’s Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth (MP3EI) programs to increase connectivity in the country in order to boost the economy,” Emirsyah said.

In February, the firm signed a contract to purchase 18 CRJ 1000 NextGen jets at the Singapore Air Show and they have the option to buy another 18.

The purchase of the sub-100 jet is also aimed at supporting the airline’s development and expansion plans on high density, short range domestic and regional routes.

The 1000 series is one of the Bombardier’s most reliable and environmentally friendly products with very efficient operational costs.

The airplane was first marketed in 2010 and can carry up to 100 passengers.

In addition to the CRJ, the Bombardier also has other aircraft series including the larger narrow-body C Series in the 100-149 seat class, the Q400 NextGen twin turboprop that can seat 78 passengers as well as various business jets.(nfo)

The Jakarta Post, Cengkareng